First Bird Survey
Our first bird survey was carried out across our land back in July, by local Devon Birds ornithologist Clive Good. This is a quiet time of year to survey as most species have finished breeding and are starting to renew their feathers. Nonetheless, there were some exciting finds, with the list including Bullfinches, Pied Flycatchers, Siskins, Dippers, Linnets, Yellowhammers, Mistle Thrushes and Canada geese, as well as a breeding pair of Hobbies and a female Goshawk in suitable nesting habitat. This year, Clive will survey in spring and winter as well as summer and we’re excited to see what he finds!
Our 2021 plans include the planting of over 10,000 trees and establishing a 12 acre Winter Bird Seed Crop. The Winter Bird Seed Crop will not only provide a food source for birds but also over-winter stubbles as a new nesting habitat.
In the UK, numbers of Grey Partridges have declined by over 80% during the last 25 years and in many parts of the country the species has become locally extinct.
Last year we reared and released our first flock of Grey Partridge’s here at Rowden. So far this year we have hatched 50 Partridge chicks. Our chicks are thriving and on track for an Autumn release onto our 400 acres of land. The changes we are making to our land to strengthen biodiversity are also creating an environment that Grey Partridges can flourish in. Our abundance of hedges lend themselves perfectly to creating the hedge bottom space that Grey Partridge’s nest. The variety of different environments on our farms – large open grassland fields, small well hedged fields, herbal leys, culm grassland, mature oak woodland, ponds, streams and the River Taw, plus our avoidance of the use of pesticides and man-made chemicals encourage caterpillars, beetles, bugs, ants and aphids – all a young Grey Partridge’s favourite treats!